Vibe Quest is the debut solo album from long-time DJ and producer Sabo. More than three years in the making, the record represents the artist's own personal journey, navigating the egos and politics of the music business while searching for positive vibes, open-minded audiences, and musical experiences that transcend a typical night out.
In 2011, Sabo left New York City after 11 years and headed to Los Angeles, both in search of sunshine and to chase a dream of playing deep, mid-tempo tribal music to fresh young ears. At the time, the new sound was being called moombahton, a style essentially created by Nadastrom, Sabo, Munchi, and a handful of others. In its early days, this music was rhythmic, sexy, and unified the dance floor, but as its popularity and reach broadened, it developed into something increasingly electronic and aggressive. Amidst this evolution, Sabo felt a bit lost; as the origins and influences that originally shaped the music were increasingly being cast aside, and his own deep, organic tribal style resonating less and less with mainstream crowds.
Vibe Quest is post-moombahton, a deeper, spiritual version of the genre that first put Sabo on the map as an established producer. A big part of the album's genesis can be traced back to 2013, when Sabo's DJ set on the Robot Heart bus at Burning Man introduced his unique vision to a whole new audience. "My deep, slow tribal sound was finally understood by a whole community of open minded people," he says. "That was really the beginning of the Vibe Quest. From there, I knew I wanted to make a whole album expressing my different influences."
And the influences are many—Vibe Quest is a bouillabaisse of cultures, samples, and sonics simmering together for a 12-course meal of body-moving entrees. Cumbia combines with jazz on "Vibe Quest," the album's title track, and actually features Sabo's own Mom, a self-taught vibraphonist. Songs like "Singing Game," "Afro Fuego," "Coconut Matras," and "Grey Is the New Sunny" infuse pitched-down tech house rhythms with African chants. Minimal dembow rhythms link with Jamaican basslines and echo effects on "Mind Dub," Caribbean steel drums are plated with techno on "Force 4 Movement," Sabo's own vocals float atop analog, sub-heavy disco cuts like "Sure is Pure" and "Black Flowers," and South American folklore melds with deep house on "Timbiqui Hasta DC" and "Drop That."
"My intention with this record is to manifest moments of positive feelings on the dancefloor," says Sabo. "I want to continue traveling the world, instilling these positive feelings within people and creating something meaningful by unifying cultures and communities."
The cover artwork is designed by Helia Jamali to symbolize a portal into the sounds of Vibe Quest . The image of the centered sun creates a hypnotic entrance into the music. Let the Vibe Quest begin.
released May 16, 2016
All tracks produced by Sabo
Additional production on "Drop That" by Nadastrom & Melo
Additional production on "Timbiqui Hasta DC" by Nadastrom
Mixed at Visionear Studios LA
Mastered by Darkart
Artwork by Helia Jamali